Missouri-Kansas City 84, Valparaiso 76
TULSA, Okla. (AP)—Dee Ayuba scored a career-high 31 points to help Missouri-Kansas City rally past Valparaiso 84-76 in a Mid-Continent Conference tournament quarterfinal game on Sunday night.
It was the seventh consecutive year that the tournament’s No. 6 seed has defeated the third-seeded team in a Mid-Continent quarterfinal. The Kangaroos (12-19) advanced to play Oakland in the semifinals on Monday.
Ayuba, a 6-foot-6 senior who entered with a 14.3-point scoring average, scored 20 in the second half for UMKC, which overcame an early 13-point deficit and trailed 38-36 at halftime. He was 12-of-17 from the field and had nine rebounds.
Quinton Day and Dane Brumagin scored 17 points each for UMKC. Brumagin was 4-of-8 on 3-point attempts.
Samuel Haanpaa paced the Crusaders (16-15) with 19 points, but was held to three in the second half. He was 5-of-9 on 3-point attempts.
Urule Igbavboa added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Valparaiso, which played its last game in the Mid-Continent after 25 years in the conference. Valparaiso, the all-time Mid-Continent leader with eight conference tournament titles, will join the Horizon League next season.
It was a seesaw second half until an Ayuba layup gave UMKC a 61-60 lead with 8:56 left and the Kangaroos were never caught.
Day sank a 3-pointer with 2:34 left to boost the UMKC lead to 73-67. The closest Valparaiso could get after that was 78-75 on a 3-pointer by Brandon McPherson. Brumagin, Brian Gettinger and Day each made two free throws during the final 30 seconds to seal the win for UMKC.
The Crusaders won both regular-season meetings against UMKC.
UMKC shot 73 percent from the field in the second half (16-of-22) and finished at 55 percent for the game (28-of-51). Valparaiso shot 44 percent in the second half (14-of-32) and 51 percent overall (29-of-57).
The Kangaroos outrebounded Valparaiso 32-25.
Haanpaa made consecutive 3-pointers to give Valparaiso its largest lead at 33-20 with 6:06 left in the first half. Brumagin started the UMKC comeback with eight points in a 16-3 run that tied the game at 36.
Jarryd Loyd made two free throws with six seconds left to give the Crusaders a two-point edge at halftime.